Can you actually homeschool your kids with nothing but a $12 workbook?
There are A LOT of different homeschool curriculum to chose from. Some have online videos that explain how to do the work. Some have lots of hands on projects and manipulative. Some curriculum teach subjects like math, science, and history through reading engaging stories. Others use more traditional textbooks. Depending upon the type of curriculum you use, it’s easy to spend anywhere from $50-$250 per subject per child. Spending $100+ on a curriculum for a single subject that might not even fit well with your child’s learning style can feel like a huge risk.
As I’ve striven to figure out what types of curriculum work best for my kids, I’ve also come to really appreciate worksheets. There is a reason so much of public school education involves filling out worksheets. It’s easy to verify a student is doing the required assignment and it’s easy to grade, so mastery of a concept can be quickly assessed. Worksheets are also easy for students to do independently.
My oldest son loves to read, and I’ve tried to find curriculum that teaches through compelling stories for most of his curriculum. But simply handing a kid a stack of books isn’t a comprehensive education. Even with a highly literature based curriculum, it’s important to have some type of assignment to go with the reading that both reinforces the concepts and keeps the student accountable. In other words, I still need worksheets.
My younger son isn’t as excited about reading as his brother. He’d prefer to skip the lengthy reading assignment, be it from a text book or a novel, and just do the worksheet right from the start. So I’m giving him what he wants, and saving a lot of money at the same time. I didn’t buy an expensive math curriculum for my son, I spent $12 on a workbook (Spectrum Math Grade 6).
Since this is just a workbook, without any text to go with it, I do have to teach my son how to do all the math he’s being assigned. Spending 10 minutes explaining how to solve the problems and going over one or two problems together before sending him off to finish the rest of the worksheet on his own works perfect for my son’s learning style. If I’d spent a bunch of money on a math textbook, he wouldn’t read it anyway. So $12 for a comprehensive math curriculum is a fabulous deal.
I’ve also opted to go the workbook rout for my sixth grade son’s English Language Arts curriculum. I actually bought three different workbooks to give him a more well rounded/comprehensive sixth grade ELA curriculum. He is using Spectrum Language Arts Grade 6 ($12), Reading Fundamentals Grade 6 ($8), and Wordly Wise 3000 Book 6 ($14). All three of these workbooks have engaging assignments that reinforce important concepts my son needs to be learning at this age. Similar to the math workbook, I sometimes need to give a bit of instruction when he’s first learning a new concept. Once he has the idea down, he is able to do this work independently. Combined with independent silent reading, he’s getting a really good language arts education that includes reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and parts of speech all for less than $35 for the entire year.
People often give workbooks a bad rap, and they aren’t great for every student. But they do work well for a lot of kids, which is one of the reasons they are used so often in public school. If you don’t have a ton of money to spend on homeschool curriculum, you really can give your child a comprehensive education with a few carefully selected workbooks and a library card.